The Top 10 CNY Sports Stories EVER! – Remember Andy Van Slyke?
This Utica native started making waves baseball-wise when he won All-American Honors as a New Hartford Spartan, and you guessed it that got the attention of the powers that be and the rest is history, but let’s take a peek at that history!
Like Friday’s sports story, Van Slyke was good enough to get himself drafted in the first round in 1979, the St. Louis Cardinals of course the team that got to jump for joy. During his Major League debut 4 years later, he had a great outing that kicked off a shining thirteen year career as a player with four different teams and then spent another 4 years as a first-base coach for the Detroit Tigers before hanging up his cleats.
During his first couple years he played nearly every position on the field but became known for his throwing arm so he would spend most of his time in the outfield. Not only was his arm a bullet, but it was more like a sniper bullet because his accuracy was just as effective as his power. His arm would garner him 5 golden gloves in a row and two silver slugger awards and also be responsible for getting him three All-Star appearances meaning basically that he was hot stuff and one of the best outfielders of all for much of his career.
Once his arm decided to stop whipping balls like a pitching machine and his coaching stint ended, he like many former athletes before him decided to try the writing thing and authored a couple of books, Tiger Confidential: The Untold Inside Story of the 2008 Season, and The Curse: Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Or Do They?. He also did a gig in radio too between his stints as a player and coach, sound familiar? And just when you thought his legacy was all over, think again…
Big-League must run in the Van Slyke veins because his son Scott is following in his father’s footsteps and now plays for the L.A. Dodgers! He has already set history but not necessarily from his skills… yet. He plays on the team with the sons of four other former major leaguers including the son of Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn, something never before seen in MLB history. Not only that but all four boys are also the Dodgers starting infield, also previously unheard of… how cool! Andy must be proud. And so are we… it all started here here just three short decades ago!